How do people stay calm in an emergency?
It's a question that came to mind last Monday when we read a story in the Newcastle Herald about pilot Charlotte Zeederberg.
Charlotte landed her Tiger Moth plane on Blacksmiths beach after experiencing engine trouble on Sunday morning.
We were struck by comments from Wayne Franklin, who towed the plane off the beach.
“We thought she’d be panicked, but she was fine," Wayne said.
We asked Charlotte how she was able to stay calm.
"The engine started coughing and the aeroplane was starting to lose altitude and I realised I was going to have to put her down.
"I had an extremely sharp focus on just the job at hand. What you do is focus on flying the plane. Finding a place to land that is safe for me and the public."
She added that "we are trained for emergency landings".
Not everyone stays calm in an emergency. Some people panic and some freeze.
For example, when the Twin Towers were hit by hijacked planes in New York on 9-11, some people inside the building didn't react. Researchers later learned that, of those who made it out of the buildings, some waited six minutes on average before moving to the stairs. Some waited half an hour. Some waited to see what others would do.
Research shows that a key reason why people survive emergencies is because they're well prepared.
Which takes us back to Charlotte's point about training for something going wrong.
"All pilots do that," she said.
A Tiny White Elephant
As readers know, Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Transport Minister Andrew Constance were in Newcastle on Friday to take a ride on the light rail.
Eagle-eyed Herald photographer Marina Neil couldn't help but notice the transport minister's tie. Can you see it? That's a little white elephant.
He's having us on, isn't he?
Have Your Cake and Eat It
Most blokes suffer from a condition that we like to call greeting card stingy-itis.
It’s a chronic condition that involves a deep-set resistance to paying more than $1 or $2 for birthday cards and the like.
In truth, a lot of blokes don’t buy birthday cards at all. But, as we said, the ones that do are known to be stingy about it.
Reader Mike was in a newsagency buying some instant scratchies for his wife’s birthday.
He suddenly realised he needed a birthday card for her. But he thought a card from a newsagent would be too pricey.
To his surprise, without being prompted, the newsagent pointed him towards a stand of greeting cards that were worth $1 or $2.
The bloke was chuffed. "You're speaking my language," he told the newsagent.
The birthday card he bought for his wife said "eat cake and be fabulous".
Then Mike had a thought: "I should buy her a birthday cake".
Before long he found himself in a cake shop. He didn't have much experience cake shopping, so he was surprised to learn they could cost as much as $40 or $50.
While he was a stingy card buyer, he made a vow there and then that he wouldn't be a stingy cake buyer.
So he coughed up $40 for a nice cake for his wife. When he had a slice of cake on her birthday, he was impressed.
"It tasted like heaven," he said.
As they ate cake together, the man said to his wife: "Wonder why I'm a tightwad when it comes to cards, but a big spender on cakes?" Without missing a beat, his wife said: "You can't eat a card, can you?"